Pulau Hantu: Wild reefs with spirit

An island with spirit, Pulau Hantu is a favourite dive spot in Singapore. Its wild reefs can also be explored at low tide by non-divers.

Despite reclamation and on-going coastal works, the island is still home to an amazing diversity of marine life.

"Hantu" is the Malay word for ghost and Pulau Hantu is aptly named as "island of ghosts". Legend has it that it was here that ancient Malay warriors once dueled to the death and their ghosts is said to wander the isle.

Despite its forbidding name, Pulau Hantu today is a favourite with fishing and snorkeling enthusiasts because of its sheltered beaches, swimming lagoons and inviting waters. It is also popular with campers and day-trippers who want a unique outdoor experience away from the hustle and bustle. A peaceful and idyllic getaway, the island has swaying palms, surrounded by white sands and rich fringing reefs. There are also seagrasses and even a tiny patch of mangroves.

Double Ghosts

Pulau Hantu is actually made up of two islets: Hantu Besar (Big Ghost) and Hantu Kecil (Little Ghost). The current island is the result of massive reclamation. Pulau Hantu Besar used to be 2ha and Pulau Hantu Kechil 0.4ha, surrounded by fringing reefs with a common reef flat in between. Land reclamation from 1974-75 increased land area to 12.2ha using 400,000 cubic metres of sand, leaving a narrow strip between rock bund and edge of the reef (about 20-30m). The original bit that stuck out above water at high tide is marked by untidy plant growth, near the restrooms. At low tide, it is possible to walk across the shallow lagoon between the two islands; but not at high tide.

Since 2006, reclamation works started at Terumbu Bayan, Pulau Ular to extend Pulau Bukom. More about this at "Two groups fear new Shell plant will endanger marine life". The issue was also raised in parliament.

Marine life of Pulau Hantu

Hantu has rich reefs despite its close proximity to Pulau Bukom's petrochemical plants, and extensive reclamation and coastal work nearby.Ordinary people can view the shore life at low tide...While divers can enjoy discovering our very own reefs. Among the corals there are marvels such as seahores, slugs to discover and if you're lucky, the sea turtle!The Hantu Blog has LOTS more stories and photos of diving at Pulau Hantu!

The Hantu Bloggers are dedicated volunteers who promote diving at Hantu. Not only organising regular dives there, but also sharing what they have seen through stories and photos on their blog, and also giving talks about our reefs and sharing about Hantu on TV.

The Hantu Bloggers are celebrating their fourth anniversary today - 23 Mar (Sun) - with a series of dives including a night dive! Check out their blog for their adventures. Or better still, join them for their next dive on 27 Apr (Sun) or sign up on their mailing list for updates on trips.


Pulau Hantu: A celebration of marine life the hantu blog with stories and photos of Pulau Hantu and other marine issues.
Info for visitors on the wildsingapore website.
Pulau Hantu on the coral reefs of singapore website
Photos of intertidal marine life on Pulau Hantu on wildsingapore flickr

No comments: